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Storage Box This article was posted on Friday, 24th March 2017

Storage box, Back to the Future Inspired

As with all my projects at the moment, I'm making stuff that I need and posting it to YouTube. It's good motivation to finish the projects fully.

I have several items in my home office that have large footprints- for example I have a lightbox that is one about 20mm thick but is 400mm x 600mm. I had a gap under my desk, so I decided to make a storage box on wheels for longer-term storage.

Now I do like to paint-and-decal stuff and I had an idea for this box in mind, and I purchased yellow spray paint as a highlight colour, but I changed my mind last minute and decided to make it have a passing resemblance to the Plutonium storage case in Back to the Future. It always made me laugh, the flippancy of 'Plutonium Handle with Care'.

Notes on the project-


Tool Tote This article was posted on Tuesday, 7th March 2017

Tool Tote with Magnetic Drawer system

I had a need for a means to cart my tools and other stuff around my garden. I was using an orange B&Q bucket to lug my drill, driver, boxes of screws and anything else I needed, which was far from ideal. I have tool bags and tool boxes but I wanted a tool tote that would remain empty and ready to be filled, depending on the job.

One other feature, or necessity, was that there was a drawer or tray that would let me put shallow objects, like my screw boxes or small tools, separate from the larger tools. I didn't want latches or anything that wuld break or catch, so I turned to magnets.

The more I thought about the idea, the more I thought it would work and it would work well. Being a huge fan of maker videos on YouTube, I decided to record the whole process and make a short video of the making process. The side-effect of making a video is you put extra effort in to the process- my tool tote ended up with a paint job and then I went and stencilled it up. It's a slippery slope. Check out the video-

Notes on the project-

Notes on the video-


A year in the life This article was posted on Thursday, 28th April 2016

I have been meaning to post here for a while, but when I saw that my last post was almost a year ago, I held off until today, so it's exactly a year since my last post.

It's been a busy year, I will have more to share soon. In the meantime, we've been in our new house over a year, so these are a few representative photos of the seasons.

Rush 12 This article was posted on Tuesday, 28th April 2015

After much debating, I purchased a 5.11 Rush 12 bag in June, 2014. It's been 10 months and I've used it through all the seasons, as my Every Day Carry bag.

Rush 12 on Inis Oirr

On an average day, I carry-

I store my laptop in the hydration pouch, which is located closest to my back, underneath the straps. It makes it easier to pull it in and out- while I take my charger out when I get to my office and plug it in, I tend to pull my laptop out at home and at external meetings, and it's easier to have it readily accessible in it's own section.

The bag looks deliciously black and tactical, and the quality is fantastic- sturdily built with tough zips and buckles. With the heavier nylon, it has some serious heft, which is a drawback, but I'll touch on that in a minute.

There is plenty of space in the bag, but in use, it definitely is more suited to carrying a full load of gear, not just a laptop and accoutrements. I took it to the Inis Oirr for a few days and it held enough clothes for four days (albeit t-shirts and shorts).

The main section of the bag opens up fully, allowing easy access to all of the gear within, while the admin pouch on the front makes it easy to get at all the little bits and pieces. I haven't used any MOLLE attachments yet, but with the summer looming, I might get some for additional gear or water bottles, handy to have the expandability.

The bag is heavy, even when empty. This is more a testament to the materials more than anything else, but I found, in use day-to-day, that the bag weighs more than the contents it held. I guess this is the price of water resistant nylon.

I am happy with the bag, if you need a good backpack, then I would recommend it wholeheartedly. The thing is, I'm not sure whether I need it for my day-to-day anymore. I've just finished moving house, further away from my office, so cycling isn't really an option- I'll be driving to and from work. This immediately negates the need for both a very-waterproof bag and a back pack. I could easily get away with a messenger-style bag.

Maybe I need to start looking around again...

Getting a brand new bag This article was posted on Sunday, 1st June 2014

I'm on the market for a new backpack. My commute to work, whether it's to my office locally or when I'm working in Dublin, is punctuated by frequent saturations from the lovely Irish weather. My current backpack leaks like a sieve, and although my Macbook Air is in a, supposedly, rain proof sleeve, the rest of my stuff (or my Every Day Carry, as it seems to be called) has water stains.

While I can get backpacks in every configuration and price range, it seems that the waterproof angle is the expensive one. I've compiled a few backpacks that I have come across, which I really like, plus a few cheaper alternatives if you don't plan on being out in the rain.

I have tended to gravitate toward military style packs, simply because the colours are more muted and they all have the MOLLE expansion system (those horizontal straps) which allows you to attach more storage to your bag. The storage capacity is about 18-22 litres, which is about what my current pack has.

Mystery Ranch

Mystery Ranch ASAP

If money wasn't an option, and I could get one of these imported from the US, I'd have a Mystery Ranch ASAP pack. The design, with a three zip opening, is really clever, allowing you access from the top, but also allow you to access the entire contents of the bag. The lack of smaller compartments, is a slight con, but I love the design of this. At $245 (180 euros as of today) it's expensive.

Triple Aught Design

TAD Fast Pack

Although currently unavailable, the FAST Pack Litespeed is a nice pack. At about 21litres, it is a more tall and narrow bag. I like the flap on the front (aka a beaver tail), allowing you to strap rain coats and other clothing to the back of the pack. At $239 (175 euros as of today) it's a decent price.

511 Tactical

511 Tactical Rush 12

Of all the packs I looked at, the Rush 12 seems to tick all the boxes. It's the right size, about 22 litres. I can get it from Amazon (another shameless AA link), or eBay shops. It's about £72 (88 euros as of today). I've read a lot of reviews on forums and blog posts, and everyone who has one, is very positive about them. And, it's rainproof! I considered the larger, 34 litre Rush 24, but when I saw photos of it, I realised that it was too big for my needs.

The Rush 12 has a nice 'admin' pocket on the front, which will be useful for all my cables and junk that sits in the bottom of my bag. I've also seen people use the 'hydration' pocket for storing their laptops. Ironic, seeing as I want to keep water off the machine. All in all, a nifty little backpack.



I like the simplicity of these packs- there is some external MOLLE straps but on the lower part of the bag. The one feature I really like is the MOLLE straps on the inside, allowing more customisation inside. At $295 plus shipping (about 216 euros) it's probably beyond my budget.

Cheaper alternatives

I found these on eBay shops, and they seem like fun packs to have. One thing I must stress, is that lack of water proofing seems to a reoccurring negative for these bags. While the nylon will prevent a certain amount of water getting through, a good downpour will totally wreck your stuff, and your day.

US Military Utility Tactical Survival Camping Gear 3 Day Assault MOLLE Backpack

Probably too big for my needs, but I nearly bought it, as I liked the cut of it's jib. I could yet buy it, $37 plus free shipping worldwide, it'd be worth a chance.

MOLLE US Assault Pack Military Patrol Rucksack 20L Black by Mil-Tec

Not a particularly pretty pack, but it's only £17 plus shipping. The Amazon reviews seem to mention the poor build quality quite regularly. I guess that's to be expected.

I'll be sure to post a full review of whatever pack I get, once I've used it for a few weeks.

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